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China boycotts religious event over Tibetan participation
Phayul[Wednesday, June 13, 2012 16:35]
Former Kalon Tripa Prof. Samdhon Rinpoche (Phayul file photo)
Former Kalon Tripa Prof. Samdhon Rinpoche (Phayul file photo)
DHARAMSHALA, June 13: A delegation from China attending an ongoing religious event in South Korea returned home earlier today in what organisers said was an apparent protest against Tibetan participation.

The boycott by the 17 Chinese monks and officials came a day after they lodged a complaint about Tibet’s presence at the 26th World Fellowship of Buddhist Conference in Yeosu City, a spokeswoman for the organising committee told AFP.

Former de facto Tibetan Prime Minister Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche is attending the global Buddhist conference from June 11 – 16, as envoy of Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

It has been reported that on Tuesday, the three Tibetan delegates were forced to leave a delegates’ assembly meeting after Chinese officials threatened to boycott the meeting.

“The WFB secretary-general accepted the Chinese demand that the Tibetans leave so the meeting could go smoothly,” AFP quoted the spokeswomen as saying. She called the decision by the WFB chief “embarrassing”.

However, after the Chinese exit, the Tibetan delegation is taking part in Conference, which concludes Friday.

Held every two years, about 400 delegates from some 30 countries are taking part in the Conference being organised by the Jogye Order and the Jogye Order’s Central Council of the Laity.

The first directly elected Kalon Tripa, Prof Samdhong Rinpoche is the highest Tibetan official yet to visit South Korea.

Rinpoche’s visa was approved at the last minute by South Korean officials, who have on earlier occasions refrained from inviting the Dalai Lama to the Buddhist nation apparently for fear of offending China.

"We nearly gave up hope until Friday when authorities suddenly said the visa would be granted... we were so surprised," the spokeswoman was earlier quoted by AFP. She had called the visit a "precious opportunity" for more exchanges with Tibetan Buddhists.

Samdhong Rinpoche, who assumed responsibilities at the private office of the Dalai Lama after completing two consecutive terms as Kalon Tripa, is expected to meet Buddhist delegates from other nations at the Conference.

The World Fellowship of Buddhist Conference first began in May of 1950 in Sri Lanka as Buddhist representatives from 27 countries met to transcend sectarian barriers. Now, 153 WFB branches in 40 countries exist to unify Buddhists from all traditions and uphold the Buddha’s teachings.
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